The Cerritos is assigned to oversee post-Dominon-war trade negotiations with the Karemma, the mercantile Dominion member world that was perhaps most memorably represented in DS9's "Starship Down" with a guest appearance by James Cromwell. The negotiations take place on Deep Space Nine, providing Lower Decks an opportunity to geek out using the backdrop of the Trek franchise's middlest of middle children.
And, sure, as an homage to DS9, "Hear All, Trust Nothing" puts forth its fan-service bonafides. We've got ops. The promenade. Quark's bar (the original, not the franchise extensions). Morn. Dabo tables. Shaxs and Kira swapping war stories from the Bajoran Resistance days, with each trying to one-up the other over who owes whom. The cold open gently mocks the profundity of DS9's title sequence: "Circle around and pretend we're in awe of the pylons." Armin Shimerman (Quark) and Nana Visitor (Kira) provide their voices to lend legitimacy to the whole enterprise. The animated sets of the station are flawlessly replicated. If DS9 is your Trek series, then this episode is for you.
Unfortunately, as an episode of Lower Decks, this is purely standard fare and nothing more. The plot is a shrug-worthy shaggy dog story, with Quark and his lack of ethics biting him in the ass in the way too many DS9 Quark B-stories used to. Turns out his special replicator (the "Quark 2000") — the secret to his trademarked beverages — is based on stolen Karemma technology, and now the Karemma want payback (or 76 percent of Quark's profits). Tensions boil over and we end up with a Quark kidnapping.
Meanwhile, Boimler runs up impressive winnings at the dabo table, much to Quark's staff's ire. And Tendi and Rutherford meet an annoyingly overbearing Orion, Ensign Mesk (Adam Pally under the influence of way too much coffee), who is obsessed with connecting with Tendi over their supposedly shared cultural identity of criminal piracy. Tendi is annoyed and embarrassed by this. Naturally, it turns out Mesk is an overcompensating phony who has never actually known anything about the Orion homeworld or piracy, while Tendi pulls out her suppressed pirate-family ways when the action calls for it. It's a pretty basic "twist."
Mariner is in a separate plot of her own back aboard the Cerritos, where, in a significant relationship moment, she meets all of Jennifer's other friends, who are not Mariner's cup of tea, to say the least. This plot also pivots on a sudden "twist," where it turns out Jennifer actually wants Mariner to use her no-BS attitude to take her insufferable friends down a peg. This turnabout actually saps any potential character growth for Mariner in favor of a predictable comic payoff and wacky hijinks. Rather than Mariner having to live with the fact she can't stand her girlfriend's friends, we get to watch her phaser-stun everyone with vengeful glee, which feels like (1) a cop-out and (2) quite a bit much.
In the end, "Hear All, Trust Nothing" is middling Lower Decks featuring a veneer of DS9 homage. By not being more special and consequential, it feels like a missed opportunity.
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